One-on-one with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer

Posted at 8:13 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 15:12:13-04

Ahead of the Aug. 7 primary election, 7 Action News is sitting down with candidates for governor and U.S. Senate to learn more about them and their ideas.

We spoke with Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic candidate for governor.

Watch her interview above soon. Her transcript is below.

Q: What doesn’t the average person know about your interests, hobbies and who you are?

A: I have two daughters and 3 step-sons and our house is mayhem and it’s a wonderful mayhem.

By the time I leave for work some mornings, I have made lets see, 4 breakfast, 5 lunches and dinner is in the crockpot. We’ve got a wild household and it’s fantastic.  We’re like the Brady bunch minus 1 kid.

Q: What are your thoughts on current Michigan gun laws?

A:  I’ve got kids in the public schools and I have to talk to talk to my daughters in a way that my parents never had to talk to me. You know, making sure that they are always thinking about what the quickest way to escape a classroom is in case there is an active shooter.

I believe that we can move forward with responsible gun owners at the table, because they support to, just as I do a parent of kids, real background checks. Keeping guns out of the hands of people with violence, you know domestic violence or violent backgrounds.

Making sure that we do have extreme risk protection order laws on the books. That there is waiting periods.

Q: Legalization of marijuana is a big topic of debate. What is your stance?

A: I’m going to be voting yes. When this passes, it’s on me to make sure that we are taxing it and spending the money where it’s supposed to go on our schools, on our roads, on healthcare, but also so that we regulate it so that it stays out of the hands of kids.

I also think that we need to expunge criminal records for people that have done time or got a record for an offense that would now be legal under the law.

Q: How can we provide a better education for students in Michigan? Charter Schools? 

A: We have seen from the adequacy study that we are underfunding the education of our children to the tune of thousands of dollars per pupil. We need to have universal early childhood pre-K for every child in Michigan so when they start school, they are ready to learn. Wraparound literacy support. Lets triple the number of literacy coaches and lets increase social workers and counselors so kids have the support they need to be literate by the end of third grade.

The promise of the charters schools movement was that they would innovate because they would be unhampered by the traditional oversight. Well the experiment has been going on in Michigan for a long time and the majority of them are not having any better results than the traditional public schools, despite those advantages.

So, it’s time to get serious about shutting down schools that are not working for our kids.

Q: Roads in Michigan are among the worst in the nation. What will you do to fix this major infrastructure problem? 

A: It is time to fix the damn roads.

Digging up the old roads. Rebuilding them with the right mix and the right materials with warranties, ensuring that when we do it, we use that as an opportunity to upgrade the lead service lines that is bringing water into our homes. We’ve got 71 communities that have higher lead in their water today than Flint does. There are at least 20 communities that have PFAC leaching into their drinking water.

It’s time to create an infrastructure bank. I want to fund it with 3 million dollars in year one and get to work.

Q: The Flint Water Crisis is an ongoing issue for the people in that city and a scar for the state of Michigan. What needs to be done next?

A: On day one, we are going to double down the work that is going on in Flint and produce a real, make sure that everyone has got clean drinking water coming out of their taps and safe lines leading to the tap. It’s criminal that it’s taken this long. We owe to the children of Flint to have a real long term restricted fund dedicated to their care and support.

Q: An opponent of yours is characterizing you as in the pocket of big healthcare. Can voters be assured you are not beholden to corporate interest and if so, why?

A: I have a record. I’ve gone to work every single day and shown up on behalf of the people of this state.

Anyone who questions who I fight for is not familiar with the 14 years of work that I did. I’ve crossed the aisle and worked with a governor on the other side of the party to deliver healthcare for 680 thousand people in this state.

I live up to the law and I think everyone who is implying anything short of that either doesn't have the facts or they’ve got their own deceptive reason for trying to lie to people.